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Great Bataleur

we were pigeons, Malcolm
congregating at the park benches of America
to peck at the crumbs of america's wealth
but you were a bateleur
you did not coo at men's feet
gratefully bobbing your head for cast away scraps
we were wrens
and sparrows
good survivors
good at nervous flight
from any sound or sight of fearsome threat
we could not
would not
hold our ground and fight
perhaps you feared like us
but you did not quiver
but thrust forward
sharp talons boldly
yours
were not the frantic chirpings
of timidity and self-doubt
but the righteous outcries of indignance
we ware ducklings waddling to shame
thinking ourselves ugly
seeking disguise in feathers that were foreign to us
but you hid yourself from no one
but sailed in the daylight
stretching your wings to soar
we ware those who begged, Malcolm
who could not find courage
nor faith in ourselves
who could not peer into reflecting pools
nor look each other in the face
and see the beauty that wear
ours
but for you, Malcolm
but for you, Great Bateleur
Eagle of Africa
still your spirit flies.

Copyright 2002 Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa.  All rights reserved